The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 6 September 2018

Air Date: 
September 06, 2018

Photo: A 3D view of the stocks of the principal companies involved in the subprime mortgage crisis.
Co-hosts: Sebastian Gorka, Fox; and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Hour One
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  Sebastian Gorka, Fox senior strategist; author, Why We Fight; in re:  The anonymous op-ed in the New York Times: must have been written buy a junior member of the Adm, at best.  The notion that we have to entertain such opinions from a Cabinet-level official is absurd. The deep state just came out of the closet with feather boas.  Cui bono from this op-ed? The NYT; it does not help the country.  It's the product of a work force that has no way of valuing work.   It's flabbergasting.  The civil service acts as though there’s been no election!  The permanent government.  Who profits? Those who have nothing else to campaign on.  Who asked these people to “take care of” me?  My vote takes care of me. They appoint themselves the Praetorian Guard, and talk about the Twenty-fifth Amendment!  In a representative govt, you fight for democracy on the hustings.  
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Sebastian Gorka, Fox senior strategist; author, Why We Fight; in re:   North Korea. Syria.  Kim Jong-un has misread Pres Trump, and Pompeo, and the larger situation.  An imminent cold shower in Pyongyang. . . .  Vostok 18: enormous mil exercises. 
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 1, Block C: Michael McConnell, Stanford Law and Hoover,  in re: . . . Judicial nominations no loner are being evaluated on their merits, which they were as recently as the Clinton Administration.  Bush’s nominees got support of only a minority; and fewer for Obama; now, it's entirely over: Neil Gorsuch got only three Dem votes despite his being perfectly qualified. Will be areal problem when the Senate is in different hands from the president. Destruction of one of the jewels of our Republic.
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Joshua Green, senior national correspondent at Bloomberg Businessweek; in re: In January 2010, Secretary Tim Geitner in his fabulous Treasury office speaks with Joshua Green. Decided to rescue the country instead of  . . .   Geitner was dour* people will never give credit to us for what we’ve done.  The political impact of the financial crisis.  I submit that Trump wouldn't be president today had there en no backlash against the Obama resolution of he financial crisis.  The Wall Street boys, bankers,  created the mess; instead of allowing tem to pay for their bad deeds, Obama invited them into his office and recued them.  Enraged a good deal of the country.  . . . Geitner’s concern for moral hazard; but all of the DC honchos decided the protecting them would save the economy from collapse.  Bankers got off scot-free.  Trump, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, all are reactions to the 2008 bailout.   *[pron: douur; “dower” is something else entirely];
Hour Two
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  Robert Satloff, Washington Institute, in re:  Peace talks.  Gaza:  Eretz pedestrian crossing now closed for a week because of riots and vandalism.  This past springtime: burning kites, rockets fired on Be’ersheba.  . . . Israelis don't suppose that at the end of the rainbow there’s “peace” with Hamas; the logic now is the make moves to prevent more Hamas rockets into civilian villages.  Modus vivendi, only.  . . . Most Middle Easterners, incl Arabs, have long seen Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Robert Satloff has served since 1993 as executive director of The Washington Institute. In that capacity, he oversees all Institute operations and leads the organization's unparalleled team of Middle East scholars, experts and policy practitioners. He also holds the Institute's Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy.
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Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  Mark Dubowitz, FDD, in re: Sanctions and Iran. Rial now trades from 13o,000 to 150,00 to the dollar.  Official exchange is 140,000/$1.  Dump the rials and sell the  wheelbarrow? On the eve of the Islamic revolution, was 70 to the dollar.  Iran looking to Turkey, Russia, China, Qatar, for help.  May find some alternative payment channels or loans, but it’s a $410 bil economy; fear in the marketplace domestically and internationally.  Cash infusions ad credit lines for Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah: infuriating Iranian citizens, and reinforcing fear in banks. 
Mark Dubowitz is the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan policy institute, where he leads projects on Iran, sanctions and nonproliferation. He is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program and global threat network, and is widely recognized as one of the key influencers in shaping sanctions policies to counter the threats from the Islamic Republic.
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Jeremy Corbyn, a man with an unlovely past, tries to exculpate himself from a lifetime of anti-Jewish pronouncements (unsuccessfully).  Stephen Harper, David Trimbull, others, help expose anti-Zionism on the extreme left and the extreme right. They’re stuck with the sophistry of being unable to define “anti-Semitism.” Anti-Jewishness in England went from the gentry downward; in France, from the population up.   Ten per cent of Jews in France have moved. 
Syria: missiles; also in Iraq (reluctance to park them in Syria because Israel has taken pre-emptive actions vs missiles shipped from Iran to Hezbollah to Syria, or Iraq to Syria.  Iran will place 700,000 troops around Iran to fight the demonstrations. 
BDS has backfired as an economic tool against Israel.  SodaStream: Pepsi bought it for $3.2 billion.  Palestinians lose their jobs; have begged us to prevent the factory from moving from the West Bank – but we can't and it was the PA that created this mess. 
Corey Booker claims to  have been unaware of huge BDS T-shirt next to him and big BDS sign in front of him.  Bellwether when people win elections with 10% of the vote – we’re getting people whose views are abhorrent to a good part of the American people. 
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 2, Block D: Indiana Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Ancient date seeds uncovered on Masada and nearby; preserved; an ancient variety of date palm rendered extinct during Roman times. Trying to resuscitate, thinking that it has healing qualities;  often, Biblical “honey” refers not to bee honey but to date honey.  Scientists have managed to bring back to life one seed. Methuselah: the palm tree today is ten feet tall and has bushy green leaves; believe that it has medical applications; reproducing this miracle with six more trees. Growing in an academic institution under Elaine Saloway. In Morocco, the Date Palm Project in Marrakesh; also in Jordan. An intl project. It’s as though it emerged from a time machine — the lost date seeds of Masada.
The trek to the land of Canaan: found some structures in the Jordan Valley along the Dead Sea Transform. Found [wells?].  See: the Book of Joshua.  Seventy of the structures date back to the Iron Age. 
Hour Three
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 3, Block A:  Adam White, Scalia School at George Mason University;  in re: Judge Kavanaugh.   Sen Booker of NJ surprised all by revealing that he had confidential docs from Judge Kavanaugh (when he was in WH?) with remarks about racial profiles.  Said he’d release them despite the fact that he could be expelled from the Senate for that.  Mundane docs, ad in fact had already been released.
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 3, Block B: Adam White, Scalia School at George Mason University;  in re:  Judge Kavanaugh
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 3, Block C: Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ, in re: Guatemala.    CCIG: Independent UN commission on impunity in Guatemala
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In the struggle to defeat transnational crime in Central America, the U.S. is financing a United Nations prosecutorial body in Guatemala. Yet these U.N. prosecutors are thumbing their noses at the rule of law and seem to be using their power to politicize the Guatemalan judiciary. 
This is dividing and destabilizing a pivotal democracy in the region. The fragile Guatemalan state is in the crosshairs of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and Cuba’s Gen. Raúl Castro. If their allies seize control of Mexico’s southern neighbor via its institutions, as Daniel Ortega has done in Nicaragua, it will have implications for Mexican and American security. 
The U.N. body, known as the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG by its Spanish initials), has been in the country since 2007. It has busted some criminals. But its unchecked power has led to abuse, and this should concern U.S. backers. Some of CICIG’s most vociferous defenders hail from Guatemala’s extreme left, which eschews equality under the law and representative democracy. 
CICIG’s rogue justice has come to the attention of Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission. He has scheduled a hearing April 27 to review CICIG’s role in the Guatemalan prosecution and extralegal conviction of a Russian family on the run from Vladimir Putin’s mafia. 
As I detailed in March 26 and April 19 Americas columns, Igor and Irina Bitkov, and their daughter Anastasia, fled persecution in Russia and became victims of a crime syndicate in Guatemala that was selling false identity documents. Yet Guatemala and CICIG tried the family alongside members of the crime ring that tricked them. They were convicted and given unusually harsh sentences. 
Guatemalan law and the U.N.’s Palermo Convention say that such migrants are victims, and a Guatemalan constitutional appeals court ruled that the Bitkovs committed no crime. CICIG and Guatemalan prosecutors ignored that ruling, went to a lower court and got a conviction. CICIG will not say why, or why it didn’t prosecute the law firm that solicited the fake documents given to the Bitkovs. 
Matías Ponce is “head of communications” for CICIG but there is no contact information for him or his office on the CICIG website. I managed to get his cellphone number from a third party and, after repeated tries, made contact with him. I requested his email and wrote to him so I could share with readers CICIG’s explanation of what appears to be abuse of power. He sent me a boilerplate response about CICIG’s work against criminal networks but no answers to my questions. 
It is unlikely CICIG will answer questions before the Helsinki Commission. Its co-chairman,  . . .
See also:   A Russian family jailed in Guatemala on what they say are trumped-up, Kremlin-influenced charges is begging Canada to grant them asylum so they can avoid possible deportation to Russia when they are released from prison.
The Bitkov family is expected to be released in the coming days, and have enlisted anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder to help them get to Canada. Mr. Browder, a U.S.-born financier, has led an international campaign against the Kremlin in memory of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was murdered in 2009 after accusing Russian officials of a massive tax fraud. 
In a seven-page, handwritten letter from a Guatemalan jail, the Bitkov family asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government for “immediate protection” after their release. The letter, by 27-year-old Anastasia Bitkov, the daughter of Igor and Irina Bitkov, alleged more than a decade of persecution from Russian authorities, including her own kidnapping and rape. 
“Our lives run a great risk while we remain in Guatemala, knowing the corrupt nature of Russian and Guatemalan justice systems,” the letter read. “We are a hard-working family that is asking for a chance to restore our lives . . .  The Bitkovs’ ordeal started in 2005, when their pulp and paper business, North-West Timber Company, obtained a US$158-million loan from Russian state banks to renovate its factories. When one of the bankers asked Igor Bitkov to sell 51 per cent of the business to him for less than what he thought it was worth, he refused. The family began to receive threats.
Mr. Browder said the Bitkovs are victims of the Russian government process known as “reiderstvo.” . . . In 2015, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations agency created to fight corruption, opened a criminal case against the Bitkovs as a part of its investigation into human trafficking. Mr. Browder accused VTB – one of the Russian state banks that lent money to the Bitkovs – of persuading the CICIG to open the case. Seventy armed police officers raided the Bitkovs’ home, arresting Irina, Igor and Anastasia.  In January, Igor was sentenced to 19 years in prison, and Irina and Anastasia to 14 years. Mr. Browder said they are in a cramped, filthy prison, with little food and medical treatment. He said Anastasia suffers from mental illness stemming from her alleged kidnapping.  . . .
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 3, Block D:  Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re:  The anonymous NYT op-ed. 
Hour Four
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 4, Block A:  Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I, by Nick Lloyd
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 4, Block B:  Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I, by Nick Lloyd
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 4, Block C: September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far, Jun 5, 2012, by John C. McManus
Thursday 6 September 2018 / Hour 4, Block D: September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far, Jun 5, 2012, by John C. McManus
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